April 5, 1905

CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Would my hon. friend allow me to ask him a question ? Did the solution of 1896 settle the Manitoba school question to the satisfaction of the minority?

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Liberal

Mr. BELAND.

It did settle it to a certain extent which appears to be satisfactory to the minority. It may not be satisfactory to my hon. friend, who is known to be an ardent and devoted supporter of the Catholic church. But to my mind, and as a means establishing peace and harmony in this country between the different elements, it is satisfactory.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

I hope I am not troubling my hon. friend. But how does he explain this trip of Mr. Rogers and Mr. Campbell down here to secure a more favourable settlement for the minority of Manitoba ?

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Mr. L. G.@

McCarthy. Was that what Sir. Rogers and Mr. Campbell came for ?

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

That is what we were told this afternoon.

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Mr. L. G.@

McCarthy. I am glad to know it.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Liberal

Mr. BELAND.

I think I can satisfy the hon gentleman on that point. Mr. Rogers is fond of notoriety, he desires to make himself and his party some political capital in Manitoba, and he came to meet Monseigneur Sbarretti for the purpose, in my opinion, of procuring some arrangement by which he hoped to capture the Catholic vote of Manitoba. I think that the object of Mr. Rogers, in my estimation, and I think in the estimation of my hon. friend also, was to make political capital. Now, Sir, who is making a claim for provincial rights to-day ? The hon, the leader of the opposition is making, from the rock of the constitution, as he said, a light for provincial rights. We had an instance the other day of how hon. gentlemen will stand sometimes for provincial rights when the leader of the opposition criticised the Bill that was introduced a few days ago by the right hon. gentleman, and when he was asked whether the land should be left with the provinces or with the federal government, he was of the opinion that the land should go to the provinces. But then he bethought himself, I suppose, of the strong objection, for it was an objection, that I quoted a minute ago, that it would perhaps interfere with an effective immigration policy. But I will quote his own words :

May I not further suggest that even if there were any danger-and I do not think there is- it would be the task of good statesmanship to have inserted, if necessary, a provision in this Bill with regard to free homesteads and the price of these lands, and obtain to it the consent of the people of the Northwest Territories.

It is no more difficult than that.

Provincial rights, provincial autonomy as long as it serves his purpose ! But, as soon as it does not serve his purpose, let us invade provincial rights and send a postcard,- I suppose that is the system in vogue in Toronto now-to every member and to every citizen in the Northwest Territories saying : Do you approve of that ? If he says he does, all right, and if he says he does not, well, where will he be ?

We, of the province of Quebec, we, the Catholic minority of this Dominion, are bound to change our mind as to the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L Borden). We had always thought that he was a broad minded Englishman, we had always thought that he was animated by that spirit of fair dealing and kindly forbearance that have distinguished English institutions for the last fifty years. The other day he pronounced upon us a beautiful eulogy. He said that he had traversed the province of Quebec from one end to the other and that every man he bad met there was well read, intelligent and sociable and a moment afterwards he moved the amendment which is now before the House. The hon. gentleman, I am afraid, has missed his vocation. He has missed his profession. He should have been a surgeon because lie would have made a very skilful one. When I listened to him I could not refrain from thinking that when he pronounced that eulogy, when he uttered

those words in praise of the French Canadian people he was doing the work of a surgeon before the operation-injecting into the tissues an analgesic before he used the scalpel* The hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) says that because we have tried to invade provincial rights we have become a disrupted and disbanded party. But, for a moment or two let us examine what has happened on the other side. The moment the hon. leader of the opposition has placed his constitutional gun in positiomand the moment he has fired that gun it has been found to be a slate gun. It splits to pieces. The hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) mortally wounded ; the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Bergeron) not quite so badly wounded. The list of wounded grows every day. The hon. member for North Toronto says that the weakness of the Czar of' Russia is that he does not consult his people. Then, I might retort: What is the weakness of the hon. leader of the opposition ? If it is a mistake for the Czar of Russia not to consult his people how much greater a mistake must it be for that non. gentleman to turn his gun against his own lieutenants and his own regiment ? But, we have not heard so far in this House from the hon. member for South York (Mr. Maclean). He will be coming some day and making a plea such as he made to-day in favour of provincial rights. That hon. gentleman succeeded in the not very remote past in making himself plainly understood on the question of provincial rights. It was in March, 1902. What did the hon. member for South York say ? He was speaking in this House and he said :

Speaking of the provinces, I have not a moment's hesitation in saying that the result of provincial government in Canada has been detrimental to the progress of the country. I say that the interpretation of the law that has been given by the English Privy Council in regard to the distribution of rights as between the provinces and the federal power, has been against the interests of the country as a whole. That I regret. I agree with the hon. member for Lanark (Hon. Mr. Haggart) that some day we will have the whole jurisdiction in this parliament, and in some way we will work it out. and in some way we will increase the federal power and wipe out gradually the provincial sower.

Who would believe that after what the hon. gentleman told us this afternoon ? But, that is not all. He said something else. Here is what he said :

Yet we are told that there is no hope of progress, that the main thing is to uphold local rights. That is the doctrine of the Minister of Justice of Canada. I take issue with him there. The thing which the Conservative party of this country committed itself to was to build up a nation, with a unification of laws, if that was possible, and that this country should in some way try to recover the federal power which has been lost to the provinces in the past few years.

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Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Liberal

Mr. BELAND.

I ask imy hon. friend frankly if he approves of that ?

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

All of it.

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LIB
?

An hon. MEMBER.

He will not admit it.

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Mr. BELANU@

My hon. friend who sits beside me says that he will not admit it, but the member for East Grey is fair, and that being so I am sure that when he hears what I have to say he will stand up and declare that he was mistaken-honestly mistaken, but mistaken just the same. Let the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) listen. In this House we have twelve Protestant members from the province of Quebec. We have one from Argenteuil, a county in which the Protestant population is 7,800 and the Catholic population 8,100. The division of Montreal, St. Antoine, represented by my good friend Mr. Bickerdike

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An hon. MEMBER.

Mr. Ames.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Liberal

Mr. BELAND.

Yes, Represented by Mr. Ames, and I can still call him my good friend 1 hope. In Montreal, St. Antoine, the Protestant population is 22,000 and the Catholic population is 24,000. The county of Chateauguay, represented here by my good friend Mr. Brown, has a Rro-testant population of 3,000 and a Catholic population of 12,500. The county of Compton, represented here by my good

friend Mr. Hunt, has a Protestant population of 10.500 and a Catholic population of 15,000. The county of Huntingdon, the very county iu which that newspaper which has been quoted by my hon. friend from East Grey is published, has a Protestant population of 6,620. and a Catholic population of 7,200. and the Catholic majority sends a Protestant representative to this House in the person of my hon. friend Mr. Walsh. But this is not all. I want to make the proof of our toleration so convincing that my hon. friend will feel obliged to stand up and admit it if he wants to be fair. The county of Miss-isquoi, with a Protestant population of 8,000 and a Catholic population of 10,000, sends

as its representative to this House, our good friend Mr. Meigs. Montreal, St. Lawrence division, which is represented by my good friend Mr. Bickerdike, has a Protestant population of 10,000 and a Catholic population of 30,000. The county of Pontiac, which is represented by Mr. Brabazon, has a Protestant population of 6,400 and a Catholic population of 16,000. Sherbrooke, which is represented here by my good friend Dr. Worthington, has a Protestant population of

7,000 and a Catholic populaton of 11,000. Stanstead, which is represented by Mr. Lovell, has a Protestant population of 9,000 and a Catholic population of 9,500. Shef-ford, which is represented by our eminent friend Mr. Parmelee, has a Protestant population of 5,000 and a Catholic population of IS,000, and I do not blame them at all for electing that gentleman.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Will the lion. gentleman allow me ? We will agree that that is the standing of the two religious parties in the several constituencies; but when it comes to the vote, all the good Protestants will vote for this Bill.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Let us hope so.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Liberal

Mr. BELAND.

I am not concerned with . that at all. They may vote as they please, and I am sure the French Canadian people will never go back on them on that account. Out. of the twelve counties in the province of Quebec which are represented in this House by Protestants, there is only one county where the majority is Protestant, and that is the county of Brome, represented here by my hon. friend, the Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Fisher).

Now, this may not he exactly fair; it may indicate that we are more tolerant than we are in reality. I will take another point of view-that of the whole population of the province. According to the whole population of the province of Quebec, the Protestants would be entitled in this parliament to eight representatives ; but they have twelve. What does my hon. frie'nd from East Grey think of that ? The ' Evening Telegram,' of Toronto, which makes a specialty of dealing with the question of the tolerance of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, has the following :

Ontario's tolerance is illustrated in the tendency of every Roman Catholic who represents a Protestant constituency to vote as a liegeman of his church rather than as the citizen of his - country, upon questions affecting the aims of the church.

The intolerance of Quebec is illustrated in the spectacle of every ProtestaDt representative voting with an eye to the race and creed prejudices of Quebec, and with vision blinded to the principles of his own race and creed.

Ontario's treatment of the minority that is over-represented in the government, over-represented in the legislature, is not equalled by the treatment which the minority receives in auy other commonwealth on earth.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Liberal

Mr. BELAND.

Ontario can match her alleged intolerance against the boasted tolerance of any people on earth. It is an outrage that such a province with such a record should be the recipient of lectures on toleration from the bigots of Quebec.

Well, let us see if it is true that Ontario can match her tolerance against the tolerance of Quebec. In Ontario the Protestant population is 1,800,'000, and the Catholic population 390,000. On that basis the Protestants of Ontario are entitled to 72 members in this House and the Catholics to 14 members. Wbat is the representation in reality ? Seventy-nine Protestants and seven Catholics, just one-half of what the Catholics are entitled to by their population. These are the figures, irrespective of parties, for they include all the 80 menu bers from the province of Ontario.

But this is not all. Let us take the Dominion as a whole, and see how the representation stands. According to their population, the Catholics are entitled in this House to 87 members, and we have how many ? Seventy-two. I hope that my good friend who publishes the Toronto ' Telegram ' will publish these figures, which are exact, being based on the census of 1901. That would be only an act of justice on the part of the ' Telegram,' instead of misrepresenting the people of the province of Quebec, as it has done in the past.

I wonder, Mr. Speaker, what the average man of Ontario thinks when he reads such articles as are published to-day in the Toronto newspapers ? I wonder if the average farmer of the province of Ontario has ever been taught in his school-I hope he has-what the Catholic clergy have done for this country of ours. I wonder if he has been taught that that same clergy have rendered eminent and inappreciable services to the British Crown during the last 140 years, especially in the acute and critical days of early British rule in America. I wonder if he has been taught that, if he has been informed of the Catholic clergy's unshakable loyalty to the kings and queens of Great Britain since*fate went against us on the Plains of Abraham. If the good farmers of the province of Ontario were taught that the Roman Catholic clergy in the province of Quebec have resisted time and again temptations and inducements to take part in agitations for annexation; if he were taught in his early days what education in the Roman Catholic colleges and universities has done towards supplying this country with men who have gained distinction in literature, in the professions and in agriculture, and. who, every one will admit, will stand comparison with those of any other country; if he knew that the great idol of Ontario, the late Sir John Macdonald, declared on a memorable occasion in the city of London, that amongst the most faithful subjects of Her Majesty in (Canada were to be ranked the French

Canadian Catholic clergy and population; if he were taught >

in the schools these things, I would have no fear for the result, and' would be confident that he would resist any malicious appeals, because he is a moderate man and a man who ponders well before he acts.

Mr. Speaker, I am about to close-I have detained the House longer than I Intended, but I find .1 must claim your indulgence a little longer. I say it is of vital interest, admittedly, that the citizens of this country should not lose sight of their rights but it is far more important that they should not overlook their duties. To sum up my idea, this is the inevitable conclusion to which we must arrive, that the efforts of statesmen and public powers shall always be vain and fruitless if they are not founded' on the spirit of good faith and toleration; on that broad spirit of Christianity, vivify-i ing hundreds of thousands of firesides throughout this great land. That spirit of toleration and mutual forbearance between creeds and nationalities in the great west as well as in the older portions of our bei loved country, will alone give that social,, intellectual, moral and material foundation, without which no nation can rise to permanent greatness.

Let us not shelter ourselves under the flimsy parapet of legal technicalities ; and if ever doubt should enter our minds, ifi our path should appear full of difficulties, let us rise to the great responsibilities of our office with courage, justice and a spirit of fair-dealing. Let us ignore both the zealot and the bigot, and plant our feet in the solid ground of honourable compro-i mise. Let us above all remember that this is a land, unparalleled, perhaps, and certainly unsurpassed for its immense resources,1 and its future possibilities, to which we invite the civilized nations of the old world,' and if we desire to be a true nation, a worthy product of the 20th century, we must be prepared to sink and melt our individual differences in the warm rays of the sun of justice and liberty.

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Mr. J. BAER@Dufferin

As the hour is late, Mr. Speaker, II would suggest that! the House should rise and would beg to move the adjournment of the debate.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

The hon. member was not present last evening when there was, perhaps, what I might call an understanding that we should sit later into the night. At all events the observation was made that in assenting to an early adjournment last evening, we should, in order that this debate should be advanced in a reasonable way, work harder and sit later, and I think that is the temper of the House.

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April 5, 1905